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Special Issue "Involvement of Medicinal Plants and Food in the Molecular Mechanisms of Disease Prevention"

A special issue of Current Issues in Molecular Biology (ISSN 1467-3045). This special issue belongs to the section "Bioorganic Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Raffaele Capasso
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultiral Science, Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy
Interests: pharmacology; natural products; neurotransmission; behavioral pharmacology; experimental pharmacology; preclinical pharmacology; CB1 receptor; PPARs; cannabinoids; endocannabinoids; CB2 receptor
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Maria Grazia Ferraro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacy, School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Interests: biological characterization of a new class of ruthenium-containing nucleolipidic liposomes; design edaspotential chemotherapeutic agents for breast cancer treatment both in vitro and in vivo (xenograft model); preclinical evaluation of nutraceutical formulations and medicinal plants; molecular investigations related to iron homeostasis in different physio-pathological conditions, such as hepaticsteatosis, Alzheimer'sdisease, viralinfection and cancer
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Dietary habits are recognized as important for the well-being, longevity and prevention of various diseases. Healthy food lifestyles, such as the Mediterranean diet, are characterized by several beneficial bioactive components which include, in addition to the classic long-chain fatty acids, the antioxidant polyphenols, as well as a huge mass of new phytochemicals that spread throughout the kingdom vegetable, from fruit and its drinks, to whole grains, legumes and spices.

In addition to nutrition, medicinal plants also contribute to the prevention of various chronic and non-chronic diseases, just think of ginseng, valerian, arnica, licorice, garlic, turmeric, milk thistle, etc.

In addition, medicinal plants have always been used for the prevention of diseases and in recent years their interest and their use has increased significantly, and researchers have also invested heavily in identifying new pharmacological properties.

This Special Issue welcomes the submission of either original research manuscripts or reviews of the scientific literature, concerning biological properties of medicinal plants and new and classical dietary bioactive compounds, nutraceutical or functional food in different clinical and experimental settings of disease, focusing on potential molecular mechanisms.

You may choose our Joint Special Issue in IJMS.

Prof. Dr. Raffaele Capasso
Dr. Maria Ferraro
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Current Issues in Molecular Biology is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • medicinal plants
  • food
  • biological activity
  • plant side effects
  • pharmacological interactions
  • nutraceutical
  • microbiome
  • vitamins
  • metabolism
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • medical use
  • cancer

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

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Article
Geraniol Averts Methotrexate-Induced Acute Kidney Injury via Keap1/Nrf2/HO-1 and MAPK/NF-κB Pathways
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(3), 1741-1755; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43030123 - 24 Oct 2021
Viewed by 308
Abstract
Objectives: Geraniol, a natural monoterpene, is an essential oil component of many plants. Methotrexate is an anti-metabolite drug, used for cancer and autoimmune conditions; however, clinical uses of methotrexate are limited by its concomitant renal injury. This study investigated the efficacy of geraniol [...] Read more.
Objectives: Geraniol, a natural monoterpene, is an essential oil component of many plants. Methotrexate is an anti-metabolite drug, used for cancer and autoimmune conditions; however, clinical uses of methotrexate are limited by its concomitant renal injury. This study investigated the efficacy of geraniol to prevent methotrexate-induced acute kidney injury and via scrutinizing the Keap1/Nrf2/HO-1, P38MAPK/NF-κB and Bax/Bcl2/caspase-3 and -9 pathways. Methods: Male Wister rats were allocated into five groups: control, geraniol (orally), methotrexate (IP), methotrexate and geraniol (100 and 200 mg/kg). Results: Geraniol effectively reduced the serum levels of creatinine, urea and Kim-1 with an increase in the serum level of albumin when compared to the methotrexate-treated group. Geraniol reduced Keap1, escalated Nrf2 and HO-1, enhanced the antioxidant parameters GSH, SOD, CAT and GSHPx and reduced MDA and NO. Geraniol decreased renal P38 MAPK and NF-κB and ameliorated the inflammatory mediators TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-10. Geraniol negatively regulated the apoptotic mediators Bax and caspase-3 and -9 and increased Bcl2. All the biochemical findings were supported by the alleviation of histopathological changes in kidney tissues. Conclusion: The current findings support that co-administration of geraniol with methotrexate may attenuate methotrexate-induced acute kidney injury. Full article
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Article
Impact of Vitamin D Supplementation on Inflammatory Markers’ Levels in Obese Patients
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(3), 1606-1622; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43030114 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 253
Abstract
In view of research suggesting a possible beneficial impact of vitamin D on systemic inflammatory response, the authors decided to investigate an influence of vitamin D supplementation on serum levels of certain inflammatory markers in obese patients. The current study included such biomarkers [...] Read more.
In view of research suggesting a possible beneficial impact of vitamin D on systemic inflammatory response, the authors decided to investigate an influence of vitamin D supplementation on serum levels of certain inflammatory markers in obese patients. The current study included such biomarkers as interleukin-6 (IL-6), pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP), advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP), C-X3-C Motif Chemokine Ligand 1 (CX3CL1), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and nitric oxide (NO). The measurements were performed with the ELISA method before and after 3-month-long supplementation of 2000 IU of vitamin D orally. The results showed that the therapy did not induce any statistically significant changes in serum levels of MCP-1, IL-6, CX3CL1, and PACAP. The supplementation was related to a significant increase in measurements of NO and AOPP levels, although the correlation analysis between vitamin D concentration after its supplementation and the concentration of the molecular parameters did not show significant relation. In conclusion, our study seems to contradict certain aspects of findings available in the literature regarding the vitamin D’s impact. Full article
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Article
Effect of Ducrosia flabellifolia and Savignya parviflora Extracts on Inhibition of Human Colon and Prostate Cancer Cell Lines
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(3), 1518-1528; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43030107 - 10 Oct 2021
Viewed by 329
Abstract
The goal of this study was to investigate whether Ducrosia flabellifolia and Savignya parviflora methanol extract the have effect on colon and prostate cancer cell lines. Analysis of total content of phenolics and flavonoids of each plant extract was carried out. Cytotoxic effect, [...] Read more.
The goal of this study was to investigate whether Ducrosia flabellifolia and Savignya parviflora methanol extract the have effect on colon and prostate cancer cell lines. Analysis of total content of phenolics and flavonoids of each plant extract was carried out. Cytotoxic effect, cell cycle analysis, induction of apoptosis and gene expression of Bcl-2 and Bax genes were studied. Obtained results indicated that, the plant extracts exhibit growth inhibition of used cancer cell lines and induced apoptosis as well as arresting of cell cycle. At the molecular level, changes in gene expression were detected via qPCR and confirmed by western blotting. The exhibited anticancer potentialities of plant extracts against utilized cancer cell lines are due to its containing bioactive compounds. Further detailed isolation, fractionation and characterization of bioactive compounds are needed. Full article
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Article
Dexpanthenol Promotes Cell Growth by Preventing Cell Senescence and Apoptosis in Cultured Human Hair Follicle Cells
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(3), 1361-1373; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43030097 - 28 Sep 2021
Viewed by 424
Abstract
Dexpanthenol (D-panthenol) is a precursor of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and is widely used for dietary supplements and topical applications. D-panthenol has long been used in hair care products for the purpose of anti-hair loss, its effects and the underlying mechanisms, however, were [...] Read more.
Dexpanthenol (D-panthenol) is a precursor of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and is widely used for dietary supplements and topical applications. D-panthenol has long been used in hair care products for the purpose of anti-hair loss, its effects and the underlying mechanisms, however, were barely reported. In this study, the effects of D-panthenol on human hair follicle cells, including dermal papilla cells (hDPCs) and outer root sheath cells (hORSCs), were investigated. D-panthenol enhanced the cell viability, increasing the cellular proliferation marker Ki67 in cultured hDPCs. The markers for apoptosis (Caspase3/9) and cell senescence (p21/p16), reported to be expressed in aged or resting phase follicles, were significantly reduced by D-panthenol. Anagen-inducing factors (ALP; β-catenin; versican), which trigger or elongate the anagen phase, were stimulated by D-panthenol. On the other hand, D-panthenol reduced TGF-β1 expressions in both mRNA and protein levels. The expression of VEGF, which is important for peripheral blood vessel activation; was up-regulated by D-panthenol treatment. In cultured hORSCs, cell proliferation and viability were enhanced, while the mRNA expression of cell senescence markers (p21/p16) was significantly down-regulated. The expressions of both VEGF and its receptor (VEGFR) were up-regulated by D-panthenol. In conclusion, our data suggest that the hair growth stimulating activity of D-panthenol was exerted by increasing the cell viability, suppressing the apoptotic markers, and elongating the anagen phase in hair follicles. Full article
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Article
Potential DPP IV Inhibitory Peptides from Dry-Cured Pork Loins after Hydrolysis: An In Vitro and In Silico Study
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(3), 1335-1349; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43030095 - 27 Sep 2021
Viewed by 319
Abstract
Peptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV) is a pharmacotherapeutic target in type 2 diabetes, and inhibitors of this enzyme are an important class of drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In the present study, peptides (<7 kDa) isolated from dry-cured pork loins after [...] Read more.
Peptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV) is a pharmacotherapeutic target in type 2 diabetes, and inhibitors of this enzyme are an important class of drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In the present study, peptides (<7 kDa) isolated from dry-cured pork loins after pepsin and pancreatin hydrolysis were identified by mass spectrometry and tested as potential inhibitors of DPP-IV by the in silico method. Two peptides, namely WTIAVPGPPHS from myomesin (water-soluble fraction, A = 0.9091) and FKRPPL from troponin (salt-soluble fraction, A = 0.8333), were selected as the most promising inhibitors of DPP-IV. Both peptides were subjected to ADMET analysis. Fragments of these peptides showed promising drug-likeness properties as well as favorable absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity functions, suggesting that they are novel leads in the development of DPP-IV inhibitors from food. Full article
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Article
Antidiabetic Effect of Taxifolin in Cultured L6 Myotubes and Type 2 Diabetic Model KK-Ay/Ta Mice with Hyperglycemia and Hyperuricemia
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(3), 1293-1306; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43030092 - 26 Sep 2021
Viewed by 290
Abstract
Muscle is the largest tissue in our body and plays an important role in glucose homeostasis and hence diabetes. In the present study, we examined the effects of taxifolin (TXF) on glucose metabolism in cultured L6 muscle cells (myotubes) and in type 2 [...] Read more.
Muscle is the largest tissue in our body and plays an important role in glucose homeostasis and hence diabetes. In the present study, we examined the effects of taxifolin (TXF) on glucose metabolism in cultured L6 muscle cells (myotubes) and in type 2 diabetic (T2D) model KK-Ay/Ta mice. TXF dose-dependently increased glucose uptake (GU) in L6 myotubes under the condition of insulin absence. This increase in GU was partially, but significantly canceled by TXF treatment in combination with either LY294002, an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), which phosphorylates protein kinase B (Akt) or Compound C, an inhibitor of 5’-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Furthermore, TXF was demonstrated to activate (=phosphorylate) both Akt and AMPK, and promote glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) translocation to the plasma membrane from cytosol of L6 myotubes via both PI3K/Akt and AMPK signaling pathways. Based on these in vitro findings, we conducted an in vivo experiment in KK-Ay/Ta mice with hyperglycemia and hyperuricemia. Fasting plasma glucose, insulin, uric acid levels and an index of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) increased significantly in the T2D model mice compared with normal ones. Such rises in the T2D state were significantly suppressed by oral administration of TXF for four weeks. These results suggest that TXF is a potent antihyperglycemic and antihyperuricemic phytochemical in the T2D state. Full article
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Article
Antioxidant and Anti-Melanogenic Activities of Heat-Treated Licorice (Wongam, Glycyrrhiza glabra × G. uralensis) Extract
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(2), 1171-1187; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43020083 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 473
Abstract
Melanin is a brown or black pigment that protects skin from ultraviolet radiation and reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, overproduction of melanin is associated with lentigines, melasma, freckles and skin cancer. Licorice has shown antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-platelet, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities and is [...] Read more.
Melanin is a brown or black pigment that protects skin from ultraviolet radiation and reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, overproduction of melanin is associated with lentigines, melasma, freckles and skin cancer. Licorice has shown antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-platelet, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities and is used as a natural treatment for skin whitening. We aimed to confirm the potential of Wongam, a new cultivar of licorice developed by the Rural Development Administration (RDA), as a whitening agent in cosmetics. In addition, we verified the effect of heat treatment on the bioactivity of licorice by comparing antioxidant and anti-melanogenic activities of licorice extract before and after heating (130 °C). The heat-treated licorice extract (WH-130) showed higher radical-scavenging activities in the ABTS+ (2,2′-azino-bis-(3-ethylbenzothiazolin-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt) and DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) assays. In addition, WH-130 inhibited melanogenesis more effectively due to downregulation of tyrosinase in B16F10 melanoma cells than non-heated licorice extract. Moreover, heat treatment increased total phenolic content. In particular, isoliquiritigenin, an antioxidant and anti-melanogenic compound of licorice, was produced by heat treatment. In conclusion, WH-130, with increased levels of bioactive phenolics such as isoliquiritigenin, has potential for development into a novel skin whitening material with applications in cosmetics. Full article
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Article
Resveratrol Ameliorates Aortic Calcification in Ovariectomized Rats via SIRT1 Signaling
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(2), 1057-1071; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43020075 - 05 Sep 2021
Viewed by 3663
Abstract
Postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of vascular calcification which is defined as the pathological deposition of minerals in the vasculature, and is strongly linked with increased cardiovascular disease risk. Since estrogen-replacement therapy is associated with increased cancer risk, there is a [...] Read more.
Postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of vascular calcification which is defined as the pathological deposition of minerals in the vasculature, and is strongly linked with increased cardiovascular disease risk. Since estrogen-replacement therapy is associated with increased cancer risk, there is a strong need for safer therapeutic approaches. In this study we aimed to investigate the protective and therapeutic effects of the phytoestrogen resveratrol against vascular calcification in ovariectomized rats, a preclinical model of postmenopause. Furthermore, we aimed to compare the effects of resveratrol to those of estrogen and to explore the mechanisms underpinning those effects. Treatment with resveratrol or estrogen ameliorated aortic calcification in ovariectomized rats, as shown by reduced calcium deposition in the arterial wall. Mechanistically, the effects of resveratrol and estrogen were mediated via the activation of SIRT1 signaling. SIRT1 protein expression was downregulated in the aortas of ovariectomized rats, and upregulated in rats treated with resveratrol or estrogen. Moreover, resveratrol and estrogen reduced the levels of the osteogenic markers: runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2), osteocalcin and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) which have been shown to play a role during vascular calcification. Additionally, the senescence markers (p53, p16 and p21) which were also reported to play a role in the pathogenesis of vascular calcification, were reduced upon treatment with resveratrol and estrogen. In conclusion, the phytoestrogen resveratrol may be a safer alternative to estrogen, as a therapeutic approach against the progression of vascular calcification during postmenopause. Full article
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Article
Active Ingredients from Euodia ruticarpa Steam Distilled Essential Oil Inhibit PC-3 Prostate Cancer Cell Growth via Direct Action and Indirect Immune Cells Conditioned Media In Vitro
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(2), 996-1018; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb43020071 - 28 Aug 2021
Viewed by 428
Abstract
Active constituents isolated from Euodia ruticarpa (ER) steam distilled essential oil (SDEO) against PC-3 prostate cancer cell growth remain unclear. To clarify the puzzle, ER SDEO was extracted and further resolved into six isolated fractions ERF1–F6 with Sephadex LH-20 gel filtration chromatography to [...] Read more.
Active constituents isolated from Euodia ruticarpa (ER) steam distilled essential oil (SDEO) against PC-3 prostate cancer cell growth remain unclear. To clarify the puzzle, ER SDEO was extracted and further resolved into six isolated fractions ERF1–F6 with Sephadex LH-20 gel filtration chromatography to analyze their biological activities. Active ingredients in the isolated fractions were analyzed with GC-MS. Potential isolated fractions were selected to treat PC-3 cells with direct action and indirect treatment by mouse splenocyte- (SCM) and macrophage-conditioned media (MCM). The relationship between PC-3 cell viabilities and corresponding total polyphenols, flavonoid contents as well as Th1/Th2 cytokine profiles in SCM was analyzed using the Pearson product–moment correlation coefficient (r). As a result, ERF1–F3 was abundant in total polyphenols and flavonoids contents with diverse active ingredients. Treatments with ERF1–F3 at appropriate concentrations more or less inhibit PC-3 cell growth in a direct action manner. Only SCM, respectively, cultured with ER SDEO and ERF1–F3 markedly enhanced the effects to inhibit PC-3 cell growth, suggesting that secretions by splenocytes might involve anti-PC-3 effects. There are significantly negative correlations between PC-3 cell viabilities and IL-2, IL-10 as well as IL-10/IL-2 ratios in the corresponding SCM. Total polyphenol and flavonoid contents in the media cultured with ER SDEO isolated fractions positively correlated with IL-10 (Th2) and IL-10/IL-2 (Th2/Th1) cytokine secretion ratios by splenocytes, indicating that polyphenol and flavonoid components in ER SDEO isolated fractions promote Th2-polarized and anti-inflammatory characteristics. These new findings concluded that the inhibitory effects against PC-3 prostate cancer cell growth are attributed to active anti-inflammatory ingredients in ER SDEO and its active ERF1–F3 fractions through direct action and indirect treatment by modulating splenocytes’ cytokine secretion profiles. Full article
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Article
Prostate Apoptotic Induction and NFκB Suppression by Dammarolic Acid: Mechanistic Insight into Onco-Therapeutic Action of an Aglycone Asiaticoside
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(2), 932-940; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43020066 - 10 Aug 2021
Viewed by 945
Abstract
Prostate cancer (PCa) is addressed as the second most common form of onco-threat worldwide and is usually considered as the major cause of mortality in men. Recent times have seen a surge in exploration of plant-derived components for alternative therapeutical interventions against different [...] Read more.
Prostate cancer (PCa) is addressed as the second most common form of onco-threat worldwide and is usually considered as the major cause of mortality in men. Recent times have seen a surge in exploration of plant-derived components for alternative therapeutical interventions against different oncological malignancies. Dammarolic acid or Asiatic acid (AsA) is an aglycone asiaticoside that has been reported for its efficacy in several ailments including cancer. The current study aimed to investigate the anti-proliferative potency of AsA against human prostate cancer PC-3 cells. Purified AsA was diluted and PC-3 cells were exposed to 20, 40, and 80 µM concentration and incubated for 24 h. Post-exposure, PC-3 cells showcased a substantial loss of their viability at 20 µM (p < 0.05), moreover, this reduction in cell viability escalated proportionally with an increase in AsA at concentrations of 40 and 80 µM (p < 0.01; p < 0.001) respectively. AsA-impelled loss of cellular viability was also evident from the acridine orange-stained photomicrographs, which was also used to quantify the viable and apoptotic cells using Image J software. Additionally, quantification of ROS within PC-3 cells also exhibited an increase in DCF-DA-mediated fluorescence intensity post-exposure to AsA in a dose-dependent manner. AsA-induced apoptosis in PC-3 cells was shown to be associated with augmented activity of caspase-3 proportionally to the AsA concentrations. Thus, initially, this exploratory study explicated that AsA treatment leads to anti-proliferative effects in PC-3 cells by enhancing oxidative stress and inciting apoptosis en route to onset of nuclear fragmentation. Full article
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Article
A High-Cholesterol Diet Increases Toll-like Receptors and Other Harmful Factors in the Rabbit Myocardium: The Beneficial Effect of Statins
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(2), 818-830; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43020059 - 26 Jul 2021
Viewed by 697
Abstract
Background: A high-cholesterol diet (HCD) induces vascular atherosclerosis through vascular inflammatory and immunological processes via TLRs. The aim of this study is to investigate the mRNA expression of TLRs and other noxious biomarkers expressing inflammation, fibrosis, apoptosis, and cardiac dysfunction in the rabbit [...] Read more.
Background: A high-cholesterol diet (HCD) induces vascular atherosclerosis through vascular inflammatory and immunological processes via TLRs. The aim of this study is to investigate the mRNA expression of TLRs and other noxious biomarkers expressing inflammation, fibrosis, apoptosis, and cardiac dysfunction in the rabbit myocardium during (a) high-cholesterol diet (HCD), (b) normal diet resumption and (c) fluvastatin or rosuvastatin treatment. Methods: Forty-eight male rabbits were randomly divided into eight groups (n = 6/group). In the first experiment, three groups were fed with HCD for 1, 2 and 3 months. In the second experiment, three groups were fed with HCD for 3 months, followed by normal chow for 1 month and administration of fluvastatin or rosuvastatin for 1 month. Control groups were fed with normal chow for 90 and 120 days. The whole myocardium was removed; total RNA was isolated from acquired samples, and polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcription PCR and quantitative real-time PCR were performed. Results: mRNA of TLRs 2, 3, 4 and 8; interleukin-6; TNF-a; metalloproteinase-2; tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1; tumor protein 53; cysteinyl aspartate specific proteinase-3; and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) increased in HCD. Statins but not resumption of a normal diet decreased levels of these biomarkers and increased levels of antifibrotic factors. Conclusions: HCD increases the levels of TLRs; inflammatory, fibrotic and apoptotic factors; and BNP in the rabbit myocardium. Atherogenic diets adversely affect the myocardium at a molecular level and are reversed by statins. Full article
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Article
Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Resveratrol on Human Retinal Pigment Cells and a Myopia Animal Model
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(2), 716-727; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43020052 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 949
Abstract
Resveratrol is a key component of red wine and other grape products. Recent studies have characterized resveratrol as a polyphenol, and shown its beneficial effects on cancer, metabolism, and infection. This study aimed to obtain insights into the biological effects of resveratrol on [...] Read more.
Resveratrol is a key component of red wine and other grape products. Recent studies have characterized resveratrol as a polyphenol, and shown its beneficial effects on cancer, metabolism, and infection. This study aimed to obtain insights into the biological effects of resveratrol on myopia. To this end, we examined its anti-inflammatory influence on human retinal pigment epithelium cells and in a monocular form deprivation (MFD)-induced animal model of myopia. In MFD-induced myopia, resveratrol increased collagen I level and reduced the expression levels of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)2, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, and nuclear factor (NF)-κB expression levels. It also suppressed the levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-1β. Resveratrol exhibited no significant cytotoxicity in ARPE-19 cells. Downregulation of inflammatory cytokine production, and inhibition of AKT, c-Raf, Stat3, and NFκB phosphorylation were observed in ARPE-19 cells that were treated with resveratrol. In conclusion, the findings suggest that resveratrol inhibits inflammatory effects by blocking the relevant signaling pathways, to ameliorate myopia development. This may make it a natural candidate for drug development for myopia. Full article
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Article
Computational and Pharmacological Studies on the Antioxidant, Thrombolytic, Anti-Inflammatory, and Analgesic Activity of Molineria capitulata
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(2), 434-456; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43020035 - 22 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1153
Abstract
Molineria capitulata is an ornamental plant that has traditionally been used to treat several chronic diseases. The present study was designed to examine the antioxidant, cytotoxic, thrombolytic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic activities of a methanolic extract of M. capitulata leaves (MEMC) using both experimental [...] Read more.
Molineria capitulata is an ornamental plant that has traditionally been used to treat several chronic diseases. The present study was designed to examine the antioxidant, cytotoxic, thrombolytic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic activities of a methanolic extract of M. capitulata leaves (MEMC) using both experimental and computational models. Previously established protocols were used to perform qualitative and quantitative phytochemical screening in MEMC. A computational study, including molecular docking and ADME/T analyses, was performed. The quantitative phytochemical analysis revealed the total phenolic and flavonoid contents as 148.67 and 24 mg/g, respectively. Antioxidant activity was assessed by examining the reducing power of MEMC, resulting in absorbance of 1.87 at 400 µg/mL, demonstrating a strong reduction capacity. The extract exhibited significant protection against blood clotting and showed the highest protein denaturation inhibition at 500 µg/mL. In both the acetic acid-induced writhing and formalin-induced paw-licking models, MEMC resulted in significant potential pain inhibition in mice. In the computational analysis, 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, orcinol glucoside, curcapital, crassifogenin C, and 2,6-dimethoxy-benzoic acid displayed a strong predictive binding affinity against the respective receptors. These findings indicated that M. capitulata possesses significant pharmacological activities to an extent supported by computational studies. Full article
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Article
Immature Persimmon Suppresses Amyloid Beta (Aβ) Mediated Cognitive Dysfunction via Tau Pathology in ICR Mice
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(1), 405-422; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43010033 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 580
Abstract
This study confirmed the ameliorating effect of immature persimmon (Diospyros kaki) ethanolic extract (IPEE) on neuronal cytotoxicity in amyloid beta (Aβ)1–42-induced ICR mice. The administration of IPEE ameliorated the cognitive dysfunction in Aβ1–42-induced mice by improving the [...] Read more.
This study confirmed the ameliorating effect of immature persimmon (Diospyros kaki) ethanolic extract (IPEE) on neuronal cytotoxicity in amyloid beta (Aβ)1–42-induced ICR mice. The administration of IPEE ameliorated the cognitive dysfunction in Aβ1–42-induced mice by improving the spatial working memory, the short-term and long-term memory functions. IPEE protected the cerebral cholinergic system, such as the acetylcholine (ACh) level and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity, and antioxidant system, such as the superoxide dismutase (SOD), reduced glutathione (GSH) and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents. In addition, mitochondrial dysfunction against Aβ1–42-induced toxicity was reduced by regulating the reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP contents. In addition, IPEE regulated the expression levels of tau signaling, such as TNF-α, p-JNK, p-Akt, p-GSK3β, p-tau, p-NF-κB, BAX and caspase 3. Finally, gallic acid, ellagic acid and quercetin 3-O-(6″-acetyl-glucoside) were identified as the physiological compounds of IPEE using ultra-performance liquid chromatography ion mobility separation quadrupole time-of-flight/tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC IMS Q-TOF/MS2). Full article
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Article
Water Extract of Mixed Mushroom Mycelia Grown on a Solid Barley Medium Is Protective against Experimental Focal Cerebral Ischemia
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(1), 365-383; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43010030 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 716
Abstract
Although the individual consumption of medicinal mushrooms, including Phellinus linteus (PL), Ganoderma lucidum (GL), and Inonotus obliquus (IO), is known to be neuroprotective, the associated mechanisms underlying their therapeutic synergism on focal cerebral ischemia (fCI) have yet to be elucidated. This study aimed [...] Read more.
Although the individual consumption of medicinal mushrooms, including Phellinus linteus (PL), Ganoderma lucidum (GL), and Inonotus obliquus (IO), is known to be neuroprotective, the associated mechanisms underlying their therapeutic synergism on focal cerebral ischemia (fCI) have yet to be elucidated. This study aimed to demonstrate the neuroprotective effects of mixed mushroom mycelia (MMM) against experimental fCI. The water-fractions, ethanolic-fractions, and ethyl acetate-fractions of the MMM (PL, GL, and IO) grown in a barley medium using solid-state fermentation techniques were prepared and their protective effects against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity were compared in PC-12 cells. After the identification of the water extracts of MMM (wMMM) as the most suitable form, which possessed the lowest toxicity and highest efficacy, further analyses for evaluating the anti-apoptotic effects of wMMM, including Hoechst 33258-based nuclear staining, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) detection assays, were performed. Rats were subjected to a 90 min middle cerebral artery occlusion and reperfusion, after which a wMMM treatment resulted in significant dose-dependent improvements across a number of parameters. Furthermore, measurements of intracellular ROS and levels of antioxidant enzymes revealed a wMMM-mediated ROS attenuation and antioxidant enzyme upregulation. We suggest that wMMM is neuroprotective against fCI through its anti-apoptotic and anti-oxidative effects. Full article
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Article
Histological Evidence of Wound Healing Improvement in Rats Treated with Oral Administration of Hydroalcoholic Extract of Vitis labrusca
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(1), 335-352; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43010028 - 11 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 806
Abstract
Plant extracts rich in phenolic compounds have been demonstrated to accelerate wound healing, but their use by oral route has been poorly studied. The leaves of Vitis labrusca are rich in phenolic acids and flavonoids. The goal of this study was to assess [...] Read more.
Plant extracts rich in phenolic compounds have been demonstrated to accelerate wound healing, but their use by oral route has been poorly studied. The leaves of Vitis labrusca are rich in phenolic acids and flavonoids. The goal of this study was to assess the healing properties of the oral administration of hydroalcoholic extract of V. labrusca leaves (HEVL) in a murine model. HEVL was obtained by Soxhlet and dynamic maceration, and their yield and phenolic acids and flavonoid contents were determined. For the wound healing assay, 8 mm wounds were performed on the back of 48 Wistar rats, assigned into four groups (n = 12): CTR (distilled water), HEVL100, HEVL200, and HEVL300 (HEVL at 100, 200, and 300 mg/kg, respectively). On days 7 and 14, wound closure rates were assessed, and the healing wounds were subjected to histological analysis. Soxhlet-obtained extract was selected for the wound healing assay because it provided a higher yield and phenolic acid and flavonoid contents. HEVL significantly reduced leukocytosis in the peripheral blood (p < 0.05), accelerated wound closure (p < 0.05), and improved collagenization (p < 0.05) on day 7, as well as enhanced the epidermal tissue thickness (p < 0.001) and elastic fiber deposition on day 14 (p < 0.01). Furthermore, HEVL promoted an increase in the histological grading of wound healing on both days 7 and 14 (p < 0.01). The doses of 200 and 300 mg/kg provided better results than 100 mg/Kg. Our data provide histological evidence that the oral administration of HEVL improves wound healing in rodents. Therefore, the extract can be a potential oral medicine for healing purposes. Full article
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Article
Vitamin D Deficiency Reduces Vascular Reactivity of Coronary Arterioles in Male Rats
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(1), 79-92; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43010007 - 07 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 961
Abstract
Background: Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) may be considered an independent cardiovascular (CV) risk factor, and it is well known that CV risk is higher in males. Our goal was to investigate the pharmacological reactivity and receptor expression of intramural coronary artery segments of [...] Read more.
Background: Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) may be considered an independent cardiovascular (CV) risk factor, and it is well known that CV risk is higher in males. Our goal was to investigate the pharmacological reactivity and receptor expression of intramural coronary artery segments of male rats in cases of different vitamin D supply. Methods: Four-week-old male Wistar rats were divided into a control group (n = 11) with optimal vitamin D supply (300 IU/kgbw/day) and a VDD group (n = 11, <0.5 IU/kgbw/day). After 8 weeks of treatment, intramural coronary artery segments were microprepared, their pharmacological reactivity was examined by in vitro microangiometry, and their receptor expression was investigated by immunohistochemistry. Results: Thromboxane A2 (TXA2)-agonist induced reduced vasoconstriction, testosterone (T) and 17-β-estradiol (E2) relaxations were significantly decreased, a significant decrease in thromboxane receptor (TP) expression was shown, and the reduction in estrogen receptor-α (ERα) expression was on the border of significance in the VDD group. Conclusions: VD-deficient male coronary arteries showed deteriorated pharmacological reactivity to TXA2 and sexual steroids (E2, T). Insufficient vasoconstrictor capacity was accompanied by decreased TP receptor expression, and vasodilator impairments were mainly functional. The decrease in vasoconstrictor and vasodilator responses results in narrowed adaptational range of coronaries, causing inadequate coronary perfusion that might contribute to the increased CV risk in VDD. Full article
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Article
Network Pharmacology and Molecular Docking Combined to Analyze the Molecular and Pharmacological Mechanism of Pinellia ternata in the Treatment of Hypertension
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(1), 65-78; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43010006 - 01 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1242
Abstract
Hypertension is a cardiovascular disease that causes great harm to health and life, affecting the function of important organs and accompanied by a variety of secondary diseases, which need to be treated with drugs for a long time. P. ternata alone or combination [...] Read more.
Hypertension is a cardiovascular disease that causes great harm to health and life, affecting the function of important organs and accompanied by a variety of secondary diseases, which need to be treated with drugs for a long time. P. ternata alone or combination with western medicine has played an important role in traditional Chinese medicine. Although P. ternata is used clinically to treat hypertension, its functional molecular mechanism and pharmacological mechanism have not been elucidated. Therefore, in this study, the potentially effective components, and targets of P. ternata in the treatment of hypertension were screened by the method of network pharmacology, and the mechanism of P. ternata in the treatment of hypertension was analyzed by constructing a component-target relationship network, PPI interaction network, targets’ function analysis, and molecular docking. In the study, 12 potentially effective components and 88 targets were screened, and 3 potential protein modules were found and analyzed after constructing a PPI network using targets. In addition, 10 targets were selected as core targets of the PPI network. After that, the targets were analyzed by Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis. Finally, the molecular docking method is used to study the interaction between the targets and the active components. The above evidence shows that the mechanism of P. ternata in the treatment of hypertension is complicated, as it acts in many ways, mainly by affecting nerve signal transmission, cell proliferation, and apoptosis, calcium channels, and so on. The binding between targets and active components mainly depends on Pi bonds and hydrogen bonds. Using the method of network pharmacology and molecular docking to analyze the mechanism of P. ternata in the treatment of hypertension will help to provide a better scientific basis for the combined use of traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine, and will better help to improve the quality of P. ternata and point out its direction. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Genistein: A Potent Anti-Breast Cancer Agent
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(3), 1502-1517; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43030106 - 10 Oct 2021
Viewed by 310
Abstract
Genistein is an isoflavonoid present in high quantities in soybeans. Possessing a wide range of bioactives, it is being studied extensively for its tumoricidal effects. Investigations into mechanisms of the anti-cancer activity have revealed many pathways including induction of cell proliferation, suppression of [...] Read more.
Genistein is an isoflavonoid present in high quantities in soybeans. Possessing a wide range of bioactives, it is being studied extensively for its tumoricidal effects. Investigations into mechanisms of the anti-cancer activity have revealed many pathways including induction of cell proliferation, suppression of tyrosine kinases, regulation of Hedgehog-Gli1 signaling, modulation of epigenetic activities, seizing of cell cycle and Akt and MEK signaling pathways, among others via which the cancer cell proliferation can be controlled. Notwithstanding, the observed activities have been time- and dose-dependent. In addition, genistein has also shown varying results in women depending on the physiological parameters, such as the early or post-menopausal states. Full article
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Review
Antioxidant Supplements versus Health Benefits of Brief/Intermittent Exposure to Potentially Toxic Physical or Chemical Agents
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(2), 650-664; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43020047 - 10 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1025
Abstract
Although antioxidants can act locally to react with an oxidant, oral administration of “antioxidants” is quite useless in treating oxidative stress in tissues. Furthermore, it does not make sense to consider a vitamin as an antioxidant, but vitamin B3 leads to the in [...] Read more.
Although antioxidants can act locally to react with an oxidant, oral administration of “antioxidants” is quite useless in treating oxidative stress in tissues. Furthermore, it does not make sense to consider a vitamin as an antioxidant, but vitamin B3 leads to the in vivo formation of compounds that are essential for reducing this stress. A rigorous treatment of the subject indicates that to deal with oxidative stress, the most direct approach is to enhance the innate antioxidant mechanisms. The question is whether this is possible through daily activities. Diets can contain the necessary components for these mechanisms or may induce the expression of the genes involved in them. Another possibility is that pro-oxidant molecules in food increase the sensitivity and power of the detoxification pathways. This option is based on well-known DNA repair mechanisms after exposure to radiation (even from the Sun), or strong evidence of induction of antioxidant capacity after exposure to powerful pro-oxidants such as H2O2. More experimental work is required to test whether some molecules in food can increase the expression of antioxidant enzymes and/or improve antioxidant mechanisms. Identifying effective molecules to achieve such antioxidant power is critical to the food and nutraceutical industries. The potential of diet-based interventions to combat oxidative stress must be viewed from a new perspective. Full article
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Review
Ketogenic Diet in Cancer Prevention and Therapy: Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Opportunities
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(2), 558-589; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43020042 - 03 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1538
Abstract
Although cancer is still one of the most significant global challenges facing public health, the world still lacks complementary approaches that would significantly enhance the efficacy of standard anticancer therapies. One of the essential strategies during cancer treatment is following a healthy diet [...] Read more.
Although cancer is still one of the most significant global challenges facing public health, the world still lacks complementary approaches that would significantly enhance the efficacy of standard anticancer therapies. One of the essential strategies during cancer treatment is following a healthy diet program. The ketogenic diet (KD) has recently emerged as a metabolic therapy in cancer treatment, targeting cancer cell metabolism rather than a conventional dietary approach. The ketogenic diet (KD), a high-fat and very-low-carbohydrate with adequate amounts of protein, has shown antitumor effects by reducing energy supplies to cells. This low energy supply inhibits tumor growth, explaining the ketogenic diet’s therapeutic mechanisms in cancer treatment. This review highlights the crucial mechanisms that explain the ketogenic diet’s potential antitumor effects, which probably produces an unfavorable metabolic environment for cancer cells and can be used as a promising adjuvant in cancer therapy. Studies discussed in this review provide a solid background for researchers and physicians to design new combination therapies based on KD and conventional therapies. Full article
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Review
Molecular Changes Underlying Genistein Treatment of Wound Healing: A Review
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43(1), 127-141; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cimb43010011 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 745
Abstract
Estrogen deprivation is one of the major factors responsible for many age-related processes including poor wound healing in postmenopausal women. However, the reported side-effects of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) have precluded broad clinical administration. Therefore, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) have been developed [...] Read more.
Estrogen deprivation is one of the major factors responsible for many age-related processes including poor wound healing in postmenopausal women. However, the reported side-effects of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) have precluded broad clinical administration. Therefore, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) have been developed to overcome the detrimental side effects of ERT on breast and/or uterine tissues. The use of natural products isolated from plants (e.g., soy) may represent a promising source of biologically active compounds (e.g., genistein) as efficient alternatives to conventional treatment. Genistein as natural SERM has the unique ability to selectively act as agonist or antagonist in a tissue-specific manner, i.e., it improves skin repair and simultaneously exerts anti-cancer and chemopreventive properties. Hence, we present here a wound healing phases-based review of the most studied naturally occurring SERM. Full article
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